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The 26 best things to do in Toronto

Great museums, brewery tours, delicious food and no shortage of hockey dominate the very best things to do in Toronto

Edited by
John Bills
Written by
Paul French
Jessica Davey-Quantick
Sinead Mulhern

To coin a phrase that the kids may or may not use these days, Toronto is happenin’. Canada’s most populous city is jam-packed with magnificent goings on, and the best things to do in Toronto celebrate what makes travel so wonderful. You’ll find everything from film festivals to food extravaganzas via marvellous museums, engaging galleries, and heartbreaking game seven losses. Come on, Leafs, please, this year?

Toronto thrives on all fronts. The foodie scene is fantastic, accentuated by some of the best craft beers in North America. The city is ringed by incredible nature, and some of the most famous waterfalls in the world happen to be a short drive away. Get ready to fall in love with The 6ix.

🍽️ The best restaurants in Toronto
🥑 Where to eat the best brunch in Toronto
🍷 The best bars in Toronto
🖼️ The best attractions in Toronto
🏨 The best hotels in Toronto

Best things to do in Toronto

  • Museums
  • St Lawrence Market

Yep, you guessed it, Toronto’s top attraction is hockey themed. Who would’ve thought it? Even if you’re not a seasoned hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is well worth visiting. It has a seriously impressive collection of memorabilia, records, jerseys and more, and the building itself is pretty spectacular too. Now, if only those Leafs could get out of round one...

  • Art
  • Chinatown

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) features 95,000 works, making it one of the biggest art galleries in North America. This gallery has everything from collections of Canadian indigenous artwork to the work of the iconic Group of Seven, who drew inspiration from the country’s rugged landscape. Good news for travellers on a budget; Wednesday nights (6pm to 9pm) are free, but tickets must be pre-booked online.

  • Attractions
  • Harbourfront

Once the world’s tallest tower, this iconic 553.33-meter (1,815.4-foot) structure is still super impressive. Visiting Toronto is impossible without seeing the CN Tower, mainly because its spire dominates the landscape. Take in the view from the LookOut Level at 346 meters (1,136 feet), walk on air on the Glass Floor at 342 meters (1,122 feet) and check out the views from the highest perch of all; the SkyPod at 447 meters (1,465 feet) above the city. Satisfy rumbling stomachs by dining at the famous 360 Restaurant or, if extreme thrills are your thing and the incredible height alone is not enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then book an Edgewalk, a full-circle, hands-free walk around the SkyPods outer ledge. Lean back, daredevils.

  • Shopping
  • St Lawrence Market

Once named the world’s best food market by National Geographic, St. Lawrence Market is the top spot for fresh produce, delicious eats and artisanal goods. This downtown market has been going strong since 1803, and today, it is home to over 120 vendors selling everything from fresh-from-the-farm veggies to mouth-watering meals to gourmet bread straight out of the oven. It isn't just about tummies, though. A farmers market hijacks the North market on Saturdays, and on Sundays, antique dealers tout a tantalizing range of trinkets you never knew you needed. Grab your wallets, people.

  • Museums
  • Bloor Yorkville

The massive collection of cultural and historical items at this museum is unparalleled. Toronto is full of museums, but the ROM is the scene’s crown jewel. Visitors can peruse the permanent collection of 3,000 minerals and gems, extraordinary fossils, Roman antiquities and First Peoples art. The museum also hosts rotating exhibits on everything from the Japanese-Canadian experience through history to mummy portraits that happen to be some of the earliest-known fine arts portraits in the world.

From May through October, Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of the liveliest spots in the city, where dog owners and millennials flock to soak up the sun. Toronto is a cool city all year round, but it is particularly vibrant during the summer when Trinity Bellwoods Park turns into one of the best spots to people-watch and observe the city’s vibe. For the proper experience, come with a piping hot order of Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese served from a takeout window around the corner.

Rogers Centre
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Rogers Centre

The Blue Jays make up Toronto’s Major League Baseball team, and the Rogers Centre downtown is where they play their home games. During the summer months (if the Jays are playing), Torontonians show their support by donning jerseys and blue hats. Catch the action by the waterfront where they play their home games, and be sure not to miss out on a hot dog and a beer while cheering on the only Canadian team in the league.

Toronto’s internationally famous film festival takes place every September and is packed with everything from blockbusters to foreign films. Basically, this is film heaven. As you can expect, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) shows curated lists of the world’s best films from the year. There are your favourite celebrities and movies from every genre you can imagine. What's not to like? Plus, TIFF Theatre plays classics all year round.

  • Theatre
  • Greater Toronto

If you want to catch a local production, head to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, which, for more than 40 years, has put on alternative shows you won't find anywhere else. Located in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village and next to top bars and restaurants, this theatre celebrates the LGBTQ community and is the largest and longest-running queer theatre worldwide. You might also want to catch the yearly Toronto Fringe Festival, where many big names first got their start (The Drowsy Chaperone first tread the boards at Fringe before winning a Tony).

  • Theatre
  • Downtown Toronto

Canada’s premiere ballet company performs the full range of classics and contemporary choreography. You'll see lead dancers – including Guillaume Côté, Piotr Stanczyk, Skylar Campbell, Sonia Rodriguez and Greta Hodgkinson – who have truly mastered the art of graceful movement. The schedule is ever-changing, but key performances to look out for include Romeo and JulietThe NutcrackerThe Merry Widow and Swan Lake. All the classics. 

  • Music
  • Eaton Centre

In a city that prides itself on its thriving arts scene, the must-visit Roy Thomson Hall provides captivating performances that are a real treat for the ears. Whether you want to check out the next Drake at one of the many live music spots around town or take in an aria with the Canadian Opera Company, there’s always something to hear. The interior of the Roy Thomson Hall is pretty spectacular, too.

Niagara Falls
Photograph: Shutterstock

12. Niagara Falls

You may have heard of this place. Close to 750,000 gallons of water per second hurtle over the largest falls in North America, and Niagara Falls lives up to the hype. Take in the view from the top – the Table Rock site allows you to stand barely a meter from the edge of Horseshoe Falls – or get sweaty on one of the 300 kilometres of bike trails and self-guided cycling tours. You can also head into the falls with the Journey Behind the Falls, descending 38 meters through solid rock in a lift to stand next to the curtain of water. If that still doesn’t grab your attention, take flight on a helicopter and soar over the falls. For something more low-key, venture to the vineyards nearby. Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s top wine areas, and Niagara on the Lake is where you’ll find a good wine tour. Plus, it’s the most picturesque part of Niagara Falls – you heard it here first!

  • Bars and pubs
  • Beaconsfield

The craft beer scene could not be more popping in Toronto right now, and this West End brewery is the top choice amongst locals. On a summer afternoon, the patio of Bellwoods Brewery is always bustling, and lining up to enjoy a crisp IPA at one of the picnic tables is a true Toronto experience that will put any visitor in a good mood. This award-winning brewery in the West End is quaint and welcoming. Whimsically named beers like Farmageddon, Grandma, and Jelly King say everything you need to know about the vibe here.

For two weeks in spring, North America’s biggest documentary film festival will have you ditching your Netflix account. With more than 200 films to choose from, there’s something for everyone on the big screen at this fabulous festival. From docs focusing on social justice issues to the backstories of some of the world’s most talented artists, this is a film festival that showcases some of the most captivating tales from around the globe. The best part? They’re all true stories, of course.

  • Shopping
  • Kensington Market

In a city full of diverse neighbourhoods, Kensington Market might be our favourite. This pocket of Toronto has a distinctly wonderful, eclectic, bohemian vibe, with charming cafés, the city’s best Mexican snack foods, decades-old vintage stores, record shops and tasty vegan lunch joints. If quirky hipster hangouts and underground speakeasies are your scenes, this slice of the city is for you. Kensington has long been an artists’ hub, a fact that is apparent from its counter-culture performance spaces and art galleries.

Toronto Islands
Photograph: Shutterstock

16. Toronto Islands

A visit to any of Toronto’s islands will have you feeling as though you escaped three hours north to cottage country. The adventure starts on the ferry ride that takes passengers away from the bustling downtown core across the choppy waters of Lake Ontario. The Toronto Islands are all attached, and though Centre Island is the most popular, Ward’s Island is far prettier with a scenic boardwalk, hobbit-like cottages, sailboats in view, and a cute beachy café that serves flatbreads and burgers and often features live music acts.

Haunted Walk
Photograph: Courtesy The Haunted Walk

17. Haunted Walk

Many stories recalled on the Haunted Walk may be fictional, but they are enough to make even the most hardened horror-lover shudder. This macabre walking tour is also a great way to acquaint yourself with the city’s nooks and crannies. A cloaked tour guide carrying a lantern will lead you through Toronto's spookiest spots, including haunted theatres and the Mackenzie House, supposedly one of the city's most active paranormal sites. Not worried about nightmares? Grab a ticket for a night-time seance, where the Victorian supernatural awaits you.

Winterlicious and Summerlicious
Photograph: Courtesy City of Toronto

18. Winterlicious and Summerlicious

Toronto is a food city, and for two weeks in both summer and winter, 200 of the town's best restaurants put on a festival to showcase their best dishes. Those living in The 6ix know how to chow down, and tourists ought to follow suit. For more than 15 years, restaurants that participate in the annual Winterlicious and Summerlicious food festivals have had their menus on point, serving diverse cuisine that has tourists and locals abandoning their diets entirely. 

Humber River
Photograph: / Roy Harris

19. Humber River

The river that runs through Toronto’s West End, with its mouth opening up at Lake Ontario, is perfect for an afternoon of kayaking. Toronto is a bustling city, but it’s also dubbed “a city within a park”, and anyone who opts to kayak down the Humber River will see why. Outdoorsy tourists who wish to enjoy nature can easily ogle at birds, turtles and wildflowers as they float toward the iconic Humber Bay Bridge. Since you’re still in the city, there will be no issues making it on time for happy hour in the Entertainment District post-paddle.

  • Theatre
  • Eaton Centre

This double-decker theatre complex puts on an impressive array of performances and is the last of its kind in the world. Toronto bills itself as “North Broadway”, and with many touring companies coming through town, the city has plenty to offer drama lovers. There are theatres aplenty, but the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres are special as they’re both the last operating double-decker theatres and a national historic site.


This Greek food and culture festival takes over the city’s East End for a few days each summer. Greek folks know how to cook, and for three days in August, tasting menus of their mouth-watering dishes are available in this lovely setting. Toronto is home to one of the largest Greek communities outside of Greece itself, and Taste of the Danforth has provided others with a glimpse into what this culture is all about. Meandering along Danforth Avenue (“The Danforth”), visitors observe the best Greek music, dance and... did we say food?

  • Comedy
  • Dufferin Grove

Previously known as Theatresports Toronto, this full-time improvisational theatre was a breeding ground for talents like Mike Myers and Colin Mochrie. Almost four decades old, this accessible and affordable venue is as important as ever. Canada has produced some notable funny folks, and many got their start at Toronto’s Second City or Bad Dog Theatre Company. Think you’re the next big thing? Sign up for one of the weekly drop-in improv classes.

  • Things to do
  • The Distillery District

Where are some of the best pubs in Toronto hiding? The Distillery District. Formerly the home of the largest distillery in the world, this is now a bustling pedestrian neighbourhood, but there are more than just local watering holes, too: the nabe is full of trendy shops, art galleries, top-notch restaurants and many, many patios. The developers maintained the Victorian industrial aesthetic, complete with cobblestone walkways and old-timey buildings, making it a fun place to wander if a little more pre-packaged than other neighbourhoods. It also hosts several major local happenings, like the annual Toronto Christmas Market.

  • Restaurants
  • Kensington

The unexpected combination of Hungarian and Thai food at Hungary Thai is emblematic of Toronto's food scene. Almost half the population of Toronto was born outside Canada, so it is possible to take your tummy on a trip around the world without ever leaving the city limits. Head to Chinatown, Little Korea, Little India, Little Italy and more to stuff your face. Because Torontonians are used to so many cultural pockets co-existing, locals have also developed an obsession with fusion foods. The cuisine at Hungary Thai is a perfect example: where else could you order both a Wiener schnitzel and pad Thai?

Entertainment District
Photograph: Shutterstock

25. Entertainment District

Toronto's Entertainment District is one of the most concentrated party scenes in the world, so get ready to mingle with upwards of 30,000 clubbers on any given Friday or Saturday night. Gastropub Bar Hop is a perennial favourite, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and 36 craft beers on tap. If you're not into craft beer, you've no shortage of options. 

Around 11 million axes are thrown at these arenas every year. This is serious business. Canada is not, contrary to the stereotype, a frozen tundra populated by igloos and lumberjacks. But, okay, yeah, we still enjoy our plaid and sometimes want to get in touch with our burly, rugged history. Learn to throw an axe with the Backyard Axe Throwing League, where you and your friends can enter a group tournament to see who has the chops to triumph.

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